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Oyster Hots

So clean and piquant, you'll think you've been to the beach; serve hot to 4-6 people as a stimulating first course.

Garnish: paperthin rounds of lemon, sprinkled with thyme

Bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Add potatoes, carrots, jalapeno slivers, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat, leave uncovered and simmer until the vegetables are tender--about 15 minutes.

Slip the oysters with their liquid into the simmering stock and cook just until their edges curl--about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and adjust for seasoning. Ladle into bowls, top each with a lemon slice and sprinkling of thyme. Serve immediately.